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Saturday, August 03, 2002

Bare all

Last Thursday, a Dutch news correspondent stationed in Cairo; aired his weekly radio column on Dutch Radio 1.
This time however his impromptu was delivered in a different tone from the weeks before. Instead of reading his weekly report about life in the hectic Egyptian metropolis, he documented the rekindling with his native country.
As he was visiting for family matters, he read a column specially based on that account.

Many interesting observations were made by him, that would be titilating for most native Dutchmen, but the most amusing observation that he reported of, was the assertive display of female semi-nudity, that he observed while on the airport; during his stay in the city, and on board of the train.

I couldn’t help chuckling at his remarks. This explosive phenomenon is all the summer’s rage: everywhere on the streets and in shopping malls there is an abundance of tall, sophisticated women in their twenties, thirties and even fourties, who try to outshine each other. Seen all across the city, these women are dressed in halter-tops, super-tight, white slacks, thongs underneath, sporting open midriffs, and wearing footwear ranging in anything from Nikes to Blahniks. Their bodies are confidently sleek and tanned, and obviously all are blonde.

I’m not in the habit of wearing shades; but had I chosen to do so, I could have escaped their reproach for inadvertently looking down their midriffs.

Apart from the above mentioned observation, the correspondent also noticed the lush greenery stamped all around our country, its effective logistics, and the easy-goingness of the Dutch people while under stress. Above all he underscored the baffling wealth accepted uncompromisingly by all Dutch alike.

Last friday I listened to a 3-hour live radio interview with Dutch writer/painter/ and artiste extraordinaire: Charlotte Mutsaers. Currently Mutsaers lives in “exile” in Ostend Belgium. She recounted among other things, a story that relates to her love for animals, dogs in particular. Mutsaers who will be 60 shortly, said that when she was a small child she slept in the dog’s box, for lack of a fitting baby cot. Her love for animals has been prominently professed in her paintings of Fox terriers, her favorite breed. Charlotte’s father who held pro-Nazi sympathies during WW2, was ostracized after the war; leading to an incident that traumatized her: the family dog was shot dead by vengeful compatriots.

Mutsaers; a sensitive woman and an astute observer, also stated that she had refrained from attending gatherings of the Dutch art world. She became reluctant at showing up she said; because she got weary with people hearing her out; and letting her do all of the talking while they were making no effort whatsoever to reflect an opinion, or vista of their own.

I have noticed the persistence of this trait for some time, and consider it a recurrent obstacle that hampers spirited networking in both the Internet communities and the Arts society.
Fear not our social posturing: full frontal nudity of the mind in still a long way in coming.

posted by Walter at 8/03/2002

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Snaps and snippets

-Wake up call-

Between the hours of 8.00 and 11.00 am Tokyo coffee shops will cater to the price-conscious.
Called: “The Morning Set”, Japanese workers, and savvy tourists leave their homes or hotels to have breakfast before the start of office hours at 9.00 am. After 11.00 am the tariff will again switch to mildly outrageous.


Ranulph Fiennes and Charles Burton accomplished the first Pole to Pole expedition from September 2 1979 to August 1982, a 52.000 mile three-year journey. The Party’s patron, The Prince of Wales described them as “refreshingly mad”. They reached the North Pole on Easter Sunday 1982 accompanied by their terrier Bothy.
Charles Burton died of a heart attack two weeks ago.

-Fundamental garage-

“You could buy your own used DNA-synthesizer” and make whatever you want in the comfort and privacy of your own garage” Roman Terrill, Integrated DNA Technologies.


Its stronger than steel and far sharper than a pin. It shocks electrons and draws away heat. It can become the thinnest of wires and, potentially, become electronic devices almost as miniscule as molecules.

Want some? A pound of purified nanotubes would set you back $ 250.000.

-Picking eggs-

Easter eggs are ‘amuses’ left by programmers, directors, authors, and pranks. If you haven’t stumbled across any of them yet, have a look at: This site is dedicated to the reporting and rating of Easter eggs.

Current top five:

1-Wizard of Oz Synchronization
2-A message to sad people with recording equipment
3-The third life-changing choice
4-Express Elevator
5-Brian’s subliminal messages

Here’s an example of a Photoshop egg:

1.Hold Ctrl + Alt at the same time.
2.While still holding down these keys, go to Help
- About Photoshop
3.The Strange Cargo Splash screen comes up
4.Turn on your sound, and type "burp" on the

-I married a mule-

The average thoroughbred racehorse has a competitive life span of a mere three to four years.
Mules on the other hand are permitted to race through age 16 in the US. Top of breed: Ruby, a 10 year old mule mare. She won 57 races sofar, was named champion of breed 5 straight times, and a world record holder at three distances. Mary mcPherson, her owner says of her: “She’s incorrigible and unruly, horrible at the gate, but she’s aggressive and has a competitive spirit. She’ll give you 150 %”

-Neural wellbeing-

Studying neural activity in young women at the Emory University in Atlanta USA, has found that the longer the women engaged in a cooperative strategy, the more strongly flowed the blood to the pathways of plasure.
“We’re wired to cooperate with each other” says Gregory Berns, author and psychiatrist.
“I’ve pointed out to my students how impressive it is that you can take a group of young men and women of prime reproduction age sit down together and be perfectly comfortable and civil” says Peter Richardson, professor of environmental science and politics at UCLA: “If you put 50 male and 50 female chimpanzees that don’t know each other into lecture hall, it would be a social explosion”.

Source: IHT

posted by Walter at 8/01/2002

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Bygone beliefs

I found this quote in an article on the web by H. Stanley Redgrove, about the power of taboo. The article also contains insights on magic, superstition, talismans and symbolism, among others.
The site that features the article is an awesome websource by any standard. Check it out.

Dr Haddon quotes a similar but still more remarkable story of a young Congo negro which very strikingly shows the power of the imagination. The young negro, being on a journey, lodged at a friend's house; the latter got a wild hen for his breakfast, and the young man asked if it were a wild hen. His host answered `No.' Then he fell on heartily, and afterwards proceeded on his journey. After four years these two met together again, and his old friend asked him `if he would eat a wild hen,' to which he answered that it was tabooed to him. Hereat the host began immediately to laugh, inquiring of him, `What made him refuse it now, when he had eaten one at his table about four years ago?' At the hearing of this the negro immediately fell a-trembling, and suffered himself to be so far possessed with the effects of imagination that he died in less than twenty-four hours after.?

J.G.Frazer Psyche’s Task (1909)

posted by Walter at 7/30/2002

The baited brook

The city demands a constant flux. We toil in token time, cavort in CCTV-monitored space, shop in clenched malls, and rest in engineered parks. The city heeds the aimless wanderer and idle lingerer. All thoroughfares are designed to flow without friction. Stagnation is a near subversion.

As a child, I made long walks with my father, along the river Dinkel in the East of the Netherlands.
The river; in summer little more than a wide brook, ran through spectacular scenery: high sandy hills overlooking beachy flats. In summer the river was dotted with small isles strewn with debris. Mostly I rambled close to the edge of the tightly meandering stream, except when winter floods constrained most of the walk.

When I was a little older my grandfather introduced me to angling. My grandfather made sure I took an ample catch on our first outing. From then on I spent much of my teen years around waterways.
At the time the provincial city that I grew up in was largely a rural environment: green neighborhoods, alternated by the occasional industrial complex, ran into extended farm- and woodland areas within close reach of the city limits. Next to the canals, and small lakes that I fished, the region had a variety of brooks and rivulets. One of the brooks close to my native town offered a specially beautiful section, situated not far from the German border. At the location the stream was divided by a watermill on one side, and a weir onto the other. In front of the mill lay a shallow basin most times covered by froth, on the other side the brook continued, regulated by the weir.

Half a mile downstream the two branches merged again: exiting from a tunnel of foliage on one side, and running through open terrain from the other. It was my favorite spot: sitting on the northern tangent nested close to the peninsula tip, I could cast my bait in both the narrow and wide section of the brook. The different speeds of the adjoining streams attracted an abundance of roach, dace and big chub. In the middle of the brook close to the spine of the current, long braids of weeds weaved leisurely to the pace of the stream.

As I sat there many times looking down at the weeds and the blurry underwater scenery, I perceived the brook as a creature in its own right; a slow murmuring eel, changing color and shape in a deft display of calculus and camouflage.

A poem by Robert Frost that I read recently, prompted me to write my story, the poem evokes some of the visual magic that captivated me when I was a young fisherman.

Hyla Brook

from Mountain Interval 1920

By June our brook’s run out of song and speed.
Sought for much after that, it will be found
Either to have gone groping underground
(And taken with it all the Hyla breed
That shouted in the mist a month ago,
Like ghost of sleigh-bells in a ghost of snow)-
Or flourished and come up in jewel-weed,
Weak foliage that is blown upon and bent
Even against the way its waters went.
Its bed is left a faded paper sheet
Of dead leaves stuck together by the heat-
A brook to none but who remember long.
This as it will be seen is other far
Than with brooks otherwhere in song.
We love the things we love for what they are.

I’ll conclude this piece with another twist of my subject offered by the first stanza of John Donne’ s poem
‘The bait’:

COME live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of Golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.

Concluding in the last stanza:

For thee, thou need’st no such deceit
For thou thyself art thine own bait:
That fish, that is not catch’d thereby,
Alas! Is wiser far than I.

posted by Walter at 7/30/2002

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Throwing up in public

At a Vivendi top-brass gathering in Deauville last april, Barry Diller, Vivendi’s American showbizz boss curdled the atmosphere with an anecdote about his misadventure on an earlier trip with his new bride, the designer and socialite Diane von Furstenberg. At a dinner in nearby Trouville with legendary French designer Yves Saint-Laurent, and his partner Pierre Berge; the inexplicable happened, perhaps caused by something Diller ate.
Diller threw up; not just on the Regence restaurant table, but also on Saint Laurent. A Deauville participant remarked later: “It’s not the incident, it’s Diller telling it at Vivendi – a gut reaction about Americans being fed up”.

-IHT July 25 2002-

It takes social savvy to be an astute scholar of metaphor. Diller accomplished just that. How are others faring?

January 1992: President George Bush Sr, while on tour in Asia, was attending a state dinner in Japan. During the ceremony Bush got sick and threw up in the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Kichi Miyazawa.

“Throwing up on world leaders is, and always has been, a weapon that any President should be prepared to use”

September 2000: Actor Edward Furlong (Terminator 2, History X) was kicked out of the Light nightclub in NYC, where he vomited profusely all over the bar, accompanied by his girlfriend, the Hilton heiress Paris Hilton.
Furlong was so intoxicated that he went into the Ladies’ by mistake. The pair denies the allegations: says Paris: “We were there three minutes, we left because Eddie doesn’t like crowded clubs”.

March 2002: Prior to the Oscar ceremony, actress Kirsten Dunst of ‘Spiderman’ fame kept throwing up for a whole week: “I was so sick” she said, “I was throwing up, and I dropped, like 5 lbs”

Finally a word from the best of class: “The apostle of black eyes, yellow underpants and smegma”, American writer Charles Bukowski:

“I set a goal of ten pages a night but I never knew until the next day how many pages I had written. I’d get up in the morning, vomit, then walk to the front room and look on the couch to see how many pages were there. I always exceeded my ten. Sometimes there were 17, 18, 23, 25 pages. Of course, the work of each night had to be cleaned up or thrown away”.

-‘Women’ by Charles Bukowski 1981 Star Books-

Finally I’d like to offer an argument for throwing up in private:

Throw up whatever you like,
your dog will be happy to clean up afterwards

Good cheer (;)

posted by Walter at 7/28/2002